15 Creative Ways to Declutter during Lockdown

If you're still in lockdown, now may be the perfect time for you to have a sort out at home. If you are not sure what to do with the things you declutter, don't be put off. Try these 15 creative ways to manage the things you declutter during lockdown.

As lockdown rules have changed, recycling centres across the country have recently opened to the relief of everyone, but safety restrictions and high demand are causing long queues. Some centres are encouraging people to visit only where essential.

Charity shops will also be permitted to open later this month. Whilst it will bring a much needed lifeline for those who rely on income from their shops, it will be no easy task to manage hygiene and social distancing measures. It's likely that they will need to quarantine donations before they can be processed, which will affect their ability to take donations.

But don't let this put you off. You've likely spent a lot more time at home than you usually would. I'm sure you've spotted areas that need your attention, or perhaps you've been inspired to make some home improvements. Maybe your motivation is growing or you're keen to be productive whilst in lockdown.

Whatever your reason, this is your time! There are still plenty of ways you can manage the things that are no longer useful or loved... so grab this opportunity with both hands and get started!

Pass It On

  1. It's true that 'One man's rubbish is another man's treasure'. Online groups and forums, such as community groups, Freecycle, Facebook Marketplace and other resources are a great to offer your items for collection. You can still ensure social distancing rules by leaving your items outside your property for collection
  2. If you live on a street frequented by passers-by, you could put items out with a sign, 'Free to a good home'. You'll be amazed what people can make use of and it's good entertainment as you play passer-by bingo!
  3. Sell online - sites like Facebook Marketplace, Ebay and so-on are up and running. You can either arrange collection from outside your home, arrange for couriers to collect from your property or if it's safe for you to do so, visit your local Post office when you go out for exercise

Dispose

  1. Use your household waste collections to dispose of small quantities of rubbish
  2. If you have a large quantity of waste that you want to remove quickly, a skip is a convenient solution. You could band together with neighbours to share the cost if practical
  3. Buy a waste disposal bag such as Hippo and arrange collection when it's full

Save it for when lockdown eases

If you have items that can't be managed as above, you can neatly, bag-up and label the items, and:

  1. Store them in the boot of your car ready for when your desired outlet opens again
  2. Store in a space you don't use often (garage, shed or attic) so that they are ready to go
  3. If you don't have storage ask a neighbour to help you temporarily store items and ensure that you collect them as soon as you can (you don't want to make your clutter someone else's problem!)

Don't forget to diarise a reminder so that you can review the situation and remove the items from your home as soon as practical.

Donate

Some online charities may still be taking donations of good quality clothing. Re-Fashion is a great example. Request a bag and send off your donations., it's a simple as that!

There may be local charities who are asking for particular items at this time for example to support the local community or for the homeless. British Heart Foundation are also starting to take donations by post. Find out more online. In Nottingham, for example, Sharewear are still taking certain donations to support people in clothing poverty

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Cherry Laithang DEAIMSWjxxI Unsplash

Re-purpose

  1. You may find items that can be upcycled. With a bit of imagination, or a lick of the paint (perhaps found in the shed!), you can breathe new life into items to sell or re-purpose around your home. Ladders make great shelving, freshly painted, decorated or re-upholstered furniture and storage can bring a room to life
  2. Perhaps you have boxes, pots or shapes that you could re-purpose as features or planters for use in your garden
  3. You may find treasures that can be enjoyed in pieces of art, framed or made into another item you will use around the house.
  4. If you're feeling creative but don't want to keep pieces in your home, perhaps create art that you can sell to others to appreciate

What next?

If you'd like some help, whether that be to plan your project, provide tailored ideas or encouragement and support to keep you going, my Virtual Organising Partner service is just the ticket. Click here to find out more here

10 Free Self-Care Tips to Improve Your Mental Health During the Covid-19 Lockdown

Guest blog by Samantha Culshaw-Robinson of the Live Well Practice

Self-care is an important part of feeling good. It can reduce your stress levels and helps maintain a good relationship with ourselves and others. Self-care can also improve your self-esteem and your self-confidence. Overall it is a necessary tool to improve your mental health.

Here are my top ten self-care tips for you. Most of them are no-cost, some of them might be low-cost depending on your approach. But all of them require for you to take a little bit of time for yourself. Do it. You will feel better for it. So, let’s dive right in.

Do a little writing

At the end of the day, write a list of things down that you want to tackle the next day. Writing things down will get them out of your head which will in turn help you to sleep better.

You could also try some journaling. Go over the day in your mind and write down how different events have made you feel. This will help you stop ruminating while you’re trying to go to sleep.

Another idea is first thing in the morning to set a timer for 2 minutes and write longhand, a stream of consciousness writing about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only.

Do something you enjoy

If we don’t spend any time doing things we enjoy, we end up irritable and unhappy. So, take some time out every day and do something you love. Whether that’s reading, baking, knitting, tinkering in the shed or garage, gardening, cuddling with your pet, listening to music, playing an instrument – you choose. Watch your overall mood soar. Make sure as Marie Kondo says, to “spark joy!

Connect with people

Don’t try and cope with everything on your own. Find people you can talk to. You can find local Meet Up groups online for all different kinds of interests. Maybe you’re looking for a support group or a social group. Connecting doesn’t have to be in person; it also works well over the phone or via apps such as Skype or Zoom. Who can you call and connect with?

Exercise

Taking time out to exercise is not only great for your physical health but also mentally. Exercising releases endorphins that stabilise your mood. Going for a mindful walk that gets your heart rate up works wonders for many people. The key think here again is joy. Have a look online from Zumba to yoga, find an activity that brings you joy. It could be dancing or cycling!

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness means being in the moment and experiencing something will all your senses. There are many different exercises you can do, such as eating a raisin mindfully (about 5 minutes). It doesn’t have to take hours to practice mindfulness, a few minutes here and there can really ground you and bring you out of a mental tailspin by bringing you back to the here and now.

Anthony Tran 8i2fHtStfxk Unsplash

Hygge – relaxing the Danish way

You might have come across the Danish tradition of Hygge. It’s the concept of cosiness. How can you make your surroundings cosy and comfortable? Snuggling up with a book under a cuddly blanket with a lit scented candle is the ultimate form of Hygge. Does this appeal to you? Then go for it. Laura has some great ideas on adapting your surroundings to feel more “you.”

Rest when you can

Ideally, you’ll be getting around 8 hours of sleep. This will go a long way to keeping mentally healthy. If we don’t get enough sleep, it can lead to anxiety, depression and even chronic illnesses. This is because sleep helps to regulate chemicals in the brain that manage our body, mood and emotions.

Taking a power nap during the day (ideally between 1 and 3pm) can help to give you a boost if your energy is waning after lunch. This is also good for preventing dementia.

Personal care

Take time to look and feel your best. Even if this means that you get up a few minutes earlier. Having a refreshing shower can set you up well for the day. Go shopping in your wardrobe and find clothes that make you have (as Lisa Newport Style) advises “comfydence”. Spending an evening giving yourself a manicure and/or pedicure can leave you feeling pampered and relaxed without spending any money. You can even put on some soothing spa music, light some candles and use your fluffiest towels. Spoil yourself!

Meditation

Another activity that you can anywhere and anytime is meditation. And again, you don’t have to do it for hours. When you first start you will probably find it impossible to meditate for more than a few minutes anyway as your mind will take a little while to get the memo that it’s time to relax. You could start with my 3 Minute Breathing Space – a mini meditation you can download.

Cooking from scratch

Cooking your meals from scratch instead of relying on ready meals or even take outs will not only save you tons of money in the long term but also improve your health and wellbeing. You know what goes into your meals, as you’re preparing them. No artificial colours and flavours, tons of sugar or artificial sweeteners – all of which negatively impact your mental health.

Also stay away from pre-cut, pre-peeled fruit and veg. Chopping your own will cut down on your food waste as the pre-packaged varieties go off much quicker. It is also cheaper as you don’t pay someone else to do it for you. You can make chopping and prepping your raw ingredients part of your mindfulness practice. If you are short on time during the week, cook double the amount on the weekends and freeze, so you have your own ready meals. Susan Hart Nutrition Coach has some great ideas.

 

How the Live Well Practice can help

If you would like any help with getting your life in balance, mindfulness or meditation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Samantha runs one-to-one online sessions, and a regular Tuesday night Mindfulness, Resilience and chat zoom group.

You can reach me via email sam@livewellpractice.co.uk or phone  +44 (0)7522 277722.

Samantha Culshaw-Robinson Live Well Practice

Six Most Valuable Lessons from my Six Items Challenge

Restricting my wardrobe to only six items for six weeks taught me valuable lessons about my habits!

When preparing for APDOs Spring Clearing Week, I came across the Six Item Challenge. Though it seemed a daunting task to stick to only six core items of clothing for six weeks, I love a good challenge so signed myself up! Now it's all over (yes I do feel a little relieved), I learned a whole lot about my wardrobe habits so I'm here to share my six most valuable lessons from my Six Items Challenge.

1) It's good to have less choice!

It's widely understood that the more decisions you have to make, the harder it becomes and the poorer choices you may make.

This 'decision fatigue' is the reason supermarkets offer a smaller range of products than they used to. They've realised that offering consumers too many brands and types of pasta sauce, for example, makes it more difficult to choose. Consumers may even walk away without making a purchase.

I believe the same is true of our wardrobes. Agonising over outfit choices each morning makes it more difficult to manage all those other important decisions. Why start the day like this?

To reduce the number of decisions they had to make each day, Einstein and Steve Jobs famously reduced their wardrobes so that they only had to choose from a small range of suites and shirts.

I found that only having 6 items to choose from really took the hard work out of deciding what to wear each day. It was so much easier, quicker and less stressful to get ready.

2) I was forced to get creative

At first I was worried. Would people notice that I was wearing the same thing every day? Would I get fed up of wearing the same things over and over again?

if I was going to survive 6 weeks, I had to get creative! I started to wear lipstick most days and explored a range of colours. My jewellery collection became more important, as I rediscovered my jewellery and wore a wider variety of statement earrings and necklaces. I also tried out scarves, coloured tights and even tried a few different hair styles.

I also revisited my perfumes. I know this doesn't change how you look but it did make a difference to how I felt. Even if I was working at home on my own, I made the effort to wear lipstick and perfume and it made me feel great!

I've read that you should dress for yourself, even if you're not going to see anyone, because it has a significant impact on your mindset, well-being and confidence. Until now, I never fully understood the impact but this is definitely a habit I intend to continue!

3) Less is more

I really found the reduced options quite liberating and having a reduced selection made me appreciate what I had.

At the start, I gave a lot of thought to the 6 items because I needed them to compliment each other to give the maximum number of outfit options. It was a real eye opener because I learned that I didn't need too many items to create lots of different looks. The Wardrobe Fairy created a great video on this and you can watch her here.

One of my biggest learnings however is that my wardrobe is not 'designed' but rather thrown together! I haven't shopped with any intention but bought individual items when I saw something I liked- not the best strategy!

Going forward, I intend to choose fewer items that compliment each other better so that I can create a versatile capsule-style wardrobe.

4) Rediscover treasures

Before the challenge, I'd gotten into a jewellery rut, wearing the same things or no jewellery at all.

This was a great opportunity to take a good look at my accessories and happily I rediscovered lots of jewellery that I'd forgotten. I kept the pieces I love or wanted to try out again and donated a large selection of things that I won't be revisiting!

Being early Spring, it has been rather cold so I was also pleased to dig out scarves that had been long forgotten.

5) Intentional purchasing

As I've mentioned, this challenge made me take a good look at my wardrobe and I realise that I need to have a more intentional approach to purchases.

I have no idea where my clothes come from, what conditions the workers who make them work in or their impact on the environment.

This challenge has made me think about these aspects of my shopping behaviour and shift my mindset. I've proven that I can dress for a range of occasions and feel great with less. Which means I can buy pieces that are better made, produced sustainable, produced ethically even though they may cost a little more.

6) Really look at what you have

Having lived with less, I will definitely be revisiting my wardrobe to see what I can release. There is nothing worse that opening your wardrobe to find a sea of items that make you feel guilty because you spent good money but haven't worn them. If I pass on the things I no longer love or wear, I'll benefit someone else and give myself the gift of a happy wardrobe.

You don't have to do the Six Item Challenge to really see what you have (though it's not as scary as it sounds!). Instead, look through your wardrobe and ask yourself Do I love it? Do I wear it? Does it go with anything else I own?

If the answer is No, you know what to do...

Sell, donate or recycle!

Five reasons you find it difficult to clear clutter and what you can do about it.

When I tell people what I do, they ask me all sorts of questions about my work but this has to be the one subject that comes up the most.

Why do I find it so difficult to release my possessions and what can I do about it?

If you find yourself distracted by your possessions when you want to relax with a cup of tea, your wardrobe overflows making it difficult to decide what to wear, or, your surfaces need to be cleared before you can clean or prepare a meal, then you are affected by clutter.

Clutter is the stuff that gets in your way. The items may be treasured possessions, or paperwork and other disorganised debris, that has gathered on surfaces like it has a mind of it’s own.

Why is it we find it difficult to release some items?

A number of researchers have considered this question and further research is needed, but here are some of the reasons it’s not so is easy to tackle your possessions.

Perhaps the item:

  1. reflects something about you
  2. is part of your personal history, triggers memories, or has associations with family history
  3. relates to an experience or a gift received from a valued friend (even if you dislike it)
  4. is personified or has become familiar over time and you've come to believe it’s unique (perhaps you've given it a name)
  5. enabled a transition, such as a child's toy or blanket that helped them become more independent

Feelings about objects are complicated but they often change over time and as we change as individuals. We may be affected by memories associated with the items or fear of losing the item. Some people experience grief when releasing items.

So how might you manage this?

For some, the practical considerations are enough to enable them to release things they no longer need or love. It may make decisions easier to think about their lives with greater space and freedom, the physical, financial or emotional costs of keeping items in the home, or the benefits that others will derive from receiving donations.

Other approaches to try:

  • Acknowledge the emotions you are feeling, give yourself time to deal with them. Perhaps journaling or talking will support you but do get help if you need it. You don’t have to do it alone!

  • Think about where you are now and what’s important. Give thanks for the past but begin to focus on a positive present and future

  • Think about how you can keep the memory or sense of who you are without keeping the item (would taking photos or keeping a small part of the item be helpful? If you have lots of items, could you select a few to keep?)

  • Give it time – take your time. Start with the easy items, keep items you aren’t ready to part with and come back to these later when you may feel differently

'Time is the wisest counsellor of all' - Pericles

You may need to give it time, but the very process of sorting through our possessions and removing the easier items brings focus and awareness. As we work on the task, we change and grow. And over time it becomes easier to release things that had felt meaningful but that no longer serve us.

If you have questions or need sensitive support to work through your things, I'm here for you. Feel free to contact me on 07970 989955.

 

 

Spring Clearing Week

APDO members are focusing on clearing our closet this Spring Clearing Week so I’ll be sharing wardrobe clearing ideas and my experience of the Six-item Challenge on Facebook and Instagram all week – join me and watch out for a guest appearance by Helen, The Wardrobe Fairy, from 16th March!

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